I've posted some videos in the past from the Memorial Service held for Jim Henson on May 16, 1990. (It's amazing that it's been 32 years. The Muppets remain so much in the popular culture, and Henson's spirit seems so inseparable from that.) But a few other videos have since appeared that I think are worth posting. So, I'll post some of them and several related videos over the coming days.
This first is a moving, funny, lovely speech by Frank Oz.
As I noted yesterday, the website is having more of its screw-ups. The initial problem did get fixed, but a new one has cropped up.
At the moment, the website seems to look basically okay (with one minor problem still there). But earlier today, the vertical bar on the right had disappeared. That's the thing with linking information to Amazon, the Author bio, Archive links and Categories. As a result, the margins were very narrow, and the text in a blog post was very loooooong.
Also, there were no "Previous" page and "Next" page links at the bottom. And so, without those and without the Archive links, there was no way for a reader to see anything else on the website other that this first page.
All that is fixed now. What's missing -- if the site looks a bit odd -- is that the "wallpaper" on the sides is still gone.
I'm sorry for the glitches. And it's very annoying to me, especially since they seem to occur semi-regularly. At some time ahead, I may reach the point where I port the website to another service. That's a huge bother and expensive, but if these problems keep occurring, who knows? We'll see.
In the meantime, sorry that the site was wonky, but at least now it seems to be fine. But that could change at any moment, I suppose.
I know that Republicans are trying their hardest to explain the huge increase in mass gun shootings as being caused by doors, video games, mental illness (which, like video games, doesn't exist anywhere else in the world), and wokeness, along with Sen. Mike Lee's latest -- "fatherlessness" and the breakdown of families, which also seems to only exist in the United States. Indeed, they've named most everything that can't be nailed down except one thing. That's all, just one.
The assault weapons ban was ended by Republicans in 2004. That's where the red line is in this graphic.
I was discussing what seems to lay ahead with the mid-term election, given so much related news that can impact things. The overall answer was “Who knows?” But a few thoughts do impact that.
It began with a new view on the election by Dave Wasserman of the excellent Cook Political polling analysts. Only a week or so ago, he’d written about how gerrymandering has locked in many races, and it looked like Democrats would be doing better than anticipated, maybe even holding on to the House. And then a few days ago, he wrote a new analysis that a bunch of “Lean Democratic” races were now in the “Toss-up” category, and if they broke Republican could mean Democrats losing 20-30 seats.
Clearly that’s not good news. That said, his findings don’t move all those districts into the loss column, just “toss-ups,” so Democrats could still win all or at least most of those – or lose them all – though it’s certainly going in the wrong direction. But – given that he wrote almost the opposite a week earlier – it shows how much the analysis can change and in such a short time. Who knows what polling will show in two weeks? Or a month? Or five months? It certainly could be even worse for Democrats – or better.
The shift took place before the massacre in Ulvalde. Polling now will most-surely affect results. If Democrats are able to pass any sort of gun reform bill, that too will affect results. When the Supreme Court ruling on abortion is made official, that will affect results. And the next mass gun killing (and there will be one, and likely even several) will affect results. Worse economic news will affect results. So will better economic news. Worse job numbers, the War in Ukraine, the supply chain – all these will affect results. And so, importantly will the public hearings of the House Select Committee.
In just one week, the same analyst made two very different observations. And there are five months from the mid-terms.
I’m not saying things will turn around so much it will be great for Democrats. I’m saying that there is SO much time left where SO much can change, especially since we’ve just seen the very same analyst change his reporting in only one week. It could get worse for Democrats. Or better. Or better but not good enough. Or…yes, who knows? It’s five months.
It’s absolutely right to be concerned that the results right now are not good. But concerned only as a guideline for where things stand right now. We have to see what happens in the five months ahead.
At the same time, I have a friend in Texas and was curious what he saw on the news there and in the papers. And I wondered if people still are upset by the power grid disaster over the winter, or if like a lot of things it gets buried by time and other news, and how that will impact the gubernatorial race in particular. From what he says, it’s still a significant factor.
His concern in Texas (and it holds in most Red states) is that voter suppression seems a big factor. Bbut I’ve long felt overall in all those states that a) Democrats have had a year to prepare, and b) voter anger at the suppression laws will be more important that many think. And further, minorities are used to this and used to waiting hours in line and all the hurdles put in their way, whereas white people are much less-so used to it -- and since the voter suppression laws, while weighted for minority districts, affect entire states – white voters could say, “Screw-it, I’m not waiting three hours (or longer) to vote” And not bother with the hurdles set up to vote early, which is still easier than voting in person. And shorter early voting periods affect everyone. So, who knows? ™ However, as much as Democratic voters are more impacted by voter suppression laws, which is the intent, I do think there are some factors more favorable for Democrats across the country than people give credit. Notably the outrage, long-range planning to overcome hurdles (a lot of Black churches changed “Souls to the Polls’ from Sunday – which was traditional but Sunday voting has been blocked in many states – to Saturday), and the history of being used to waiting long hours to vote.
To me, the biggest concern is voter manipulation by people the Republicans have in office. But even at that, I have a BobTheory (which may have no meaning and be invalid). It’s that just because people have the right to do something idiotic or deceitful doesn’t mean they will. If a Democrat wins a race by a clear margin, even as “small” as 5 points, I think almost all GOP officials wouldn’t “invalidate” such a race. They know all the attention that would pour down on them, and the riots it would invoke. MAYBE if there’s a race that has a margin that’s less than .8 percent, they might possibly maybe screw around with it – but even at that, a margin so close might mean an automatic recount kicks in. BUT…this is still the area I’m most wary about.
All of which means the answer to what will happen five months from now is – Who knows? ™
This isn't really a Memorial Day song, though it certainly is fitting for those who are being memorialized. (It was actually first performed on Armistice Day, in 1938, which honored WWI...on the outset of WWII.)
Today, so many people perform "God Bless America" as if it's a hymn. But that's not how it was written, which is why I want to post this version. It's the first-ever performance, sung by Kate Smith on her radio show, on November 10, 1938. And as you'll hear, it's performed as a rousing march to instill inspiration. Other than the moving introduction and a point later in the song where it slows down in order to build dramatically to the final crescendo, there is nothing hymn-like in the song.
For reasons I can't explain, the site is going a bit wonky today. I put up a test video, but can't delete it -- however, in trying to delete it, I weirdly deleted the Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! video I posted over the weekend. So, here it is again.
On this week’s ‘Not My Job’ segment of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, the guest is Stephen Merchant, who-created The Office among many projects he’s acted in, written or directed. It will not shock you to learn that his interview is graciously friendly, enthusiastic and funny with lots of tales – including how they destroyed a real Banksy painting for his new show The Outlaws, which is currently running on Amazon Prime..
This the full Wait, Wait… broadcast, but you can jump directly to the “Not My Job” segment, it starts around the 18:30 mark.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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